This is my second post in a row trying to process in my mind to some degree what’s going on in the United States and around the world. This ugly divisiveness we are seeing from our elected officials, religious sects, to branches of media. Like many, I’m seeing so much ugliness and hatred between families, neighbors, global citizens, races, cultures and even the sexes. So many non-truths and fabricated information, “click bait” propaganda using false quotes and images not even related to the message. So many are being so cruel, thoughtless and hurtful. It’s as if everyone has forgotten how to stop, think, question and research. If someone verbalizes it (meme’s it or tweets it is more like it), it must be so. Even as the ideas and statements become even more ridiculous, outlandish and untrue, the more riled up the fringe masses become and some of those on the edges and near the fringe join in, without even considering how absurd the concept is or who the creator might actually be. (It will be interesting if it is found that a foreign party that has something to gain by creating discourse is at the root of this social disconnect.)
I read yet another fabricated story the other day that stated that the “left” had managed to get rights for illegal immigrants to vote. That is just plain bull shit! Folks, the rules of the constitution haven’t changed. Citizenship is still a requirement to vote. Before spreading these misinformation folks, please, stop and question and do a little itty bitty amount of research on your own from legitimate and multiple resources. I’m sure you can come up with numerous examples of “stories” made up, that are just plain nonsense.
I wonder if this vain of irrational dissenters have made it easier for individuals to believe it’s okay to say and do whatever they want?
This leads me to what started this blog post, how to deal with a specific type of toxic individual. There is no way to reason with this type of person. They are very set in their ways.
See if the following describes anyone you recognize.
We’ve ALL encountered people like this. Usually, if you encounter a person like this, you naturally distance yourself from them. Sometimes the situation is complicated and it’s not so easy to walk away. But, walk away, you must.
No amount of compassion, empathy, kindness or compliments seems to change their behavior. There is nothing you can do except to advocate for yourself and to distance yourself from the toxic individual.
I’m terribly sorry for those who have had to deal with individuals that fit the following descriptions. There must be a reason why the English language has so many words to describe these individuals. A single word just doesn’t do justice in describing their despicable behavior and attitude. Know that you do not need this kind of individual in your life and you owe them nothing. Breaking ties is often complicated and difficult. But it must be done.
Words to describe one type of kind toxic person:
Snarky – a person who is sharply critical, cutting and snide. Cranky and irritable.
Snide – derogatory or mocking in an indirect way, devious and underhanded. An unpleasant or
underhanded person or remark
Spiteful – showing or caused by malice
Malice – the intention or desire to do evil, ill will
Backbiting – malicious talk about someone who is not present
Backhanded – indirect, ambiguous or insincere
Hard-hearted – lacking in sympathetic understanding, unfeeling, pitiless
Invective – insulting, abusive, highly critical language
Backhanded compliment – an insult disguised as a compliment – when taken in its entirety
We have to stop being around people who speak unkindly, whether they are co-workers, family or so-called “friends”. It just isn’t emotionally healthy for us, for our children or our marriages to stay connected to this type of person.
If you can’t just walk away and never see this individual again, you might need to try saying something like this: “I don’t like the way you’re speaking to me and to the ones I love. If you continue to say things like this, I can no longer be around you. I’m not telling you what to do. It’s your life. I’m simply making a choice for myself. I know you’ll say nasty things about me when I’m not around, and that’s fine.” It might make you feel better, but it certainly won’t change anything.
Don’t let years go by or decades. Act now. Your happiness is worth eliminating toxic people from your life. It is not your responsibility to keep trying to change these individuals. No amount of compassion, kindness or empathy will work. They won’t change.
It is time to finally roll up the welcome mat, delete them from your life.
I wish you the peace and respect you deserve. Practice the Golden Rule, and if it’s not kind or necessary and it’s not nice, just don’t say it. And unless you are skilled in compassion and empathy, you probably shouldn’t be asking personal, probing questions.
In general show respect for others and gratitude. Practice listening without judgment. Show genuine interest in others. Remind yourself that everyone is dealing with or facing some kind of challenge.
I’d like to end with a book recommendation. I’m currently re-reading this book to strengthen my own convictions to lead a more compassionate and kind life.
Twelve Steps To A Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong ISBN 978-0-307-59559-1
Writing this post has been a good reminder to myself that I need to make sure I’m not stooping to the level of a toxic person and to remember to practice active listening.
Peace be with you.
Love your neighbor as yourself and remember to take care of yourself first.
If you cannot love yourself, you cannot love other people.
My hope is that we can see each other as fellow humans, our sisters and brothers, each imperfect and accept that as okay.